Sunday, 16 November 2008

Whale Watching at Kaikoura, New Zealand

The best place to go whale watching in New Zealand is Kaikoura on the south island which boasts a 95% chance of seeing a whale. The company Whale Watch that runs the tours is based on the sea front at Kaikoura and actually offers an 80% discount on their tours if you do not see a whale. They have very modern boats that are extremely comfortable. On the way out to the spotting site they play a video on a big screen which also gives you stats on the depth of the water below.

The most common whales to sight in the waters around Kaikoura are sperm whales which dive to tremendous depths to feed and then resurface every 15 minutes or so. The boats on the tour track the whale’s movements and time their decent to ensure you will get a good viewing. As many whales are migratory creatures, you may see different whales depending on the

time of year you visit. Humpback whales and pods of orca can sometimes be spotted in the months of June and July and occasionally a blue whale. You may get to see playful dusky and hectors dolphins or perhaps a wandering albatross.

The tour lasts about 3.5 hours and will cost $145 NZD for adults and $60 for kids. The tours operate weather permitting but always show up to check. When I went there were quite large swells until we got out to the drop off but then became calmer. If you do suffer from sea sickness then I would recommend taking a tablet prior to your tour. You may be lucky enough to see whales and dolphins on the inter island ferry which runs between the north and south islands but for the best chance Kaikoura is the best bet and highly recommended.

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